Books Everyone Should Read, According to Billionaires

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Here's one reading list that will focus on different cultures, beliefs, histories, and technologies. And maybe if you want to be a CEO in the future, then you'll need to start reading like how one would too.
Expanding markets is always on the minds of entrepreneurs -- what more the founder and CEO of Rakuten, one of the world's largest internet companies and e-commerce platforms. Together with his economist father, the Mikitani men examine Japan's economy, and how they can compete against China.

We got a whiff of this book, thanks to yet another Bill Gates recommendation. He says, "Although I don’t agree with everything in Hiroshi’s program, I think he has a number of good ideas. The Power to Compete is a smart look at the future of a fascinating country."
When Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes left Houston for Stanford University in 2002 to study chemical engineering as an undergraduate, her parents sent her with a copy of Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations." She read the book "over and over again" and found the story of the leader "very inspiring."
The Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
The Meditations
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It can be easy for us to forget where we came from and how the world once was, but Bill Gates say that The Sixth Extinction jolts us back. "Humans are putting down massive amounts of pavement, moving species around the planet, over-fishing and acidifying the oceans, changing the chemical composition of rivers, and more," he says. "Natural scientists posit that there have been five extinction events in the Earth's history (think of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs)," he continues, "and Kolbert makes a compelling case that human activity is leading to the sixth."

This one makes us take a good hard look into where we sit on world history (ancient! world! history!) and how we've come to change certain issues forevermore.
Google co-founder Larry Page read Nikola Tesla's autobiography when he was 12 and his world changed. Tesla's greatest invention, A/C current, powers almost all of the technological wonders in the world today, from home heating to computers to high-tech robotics, yet the world doesn't know much about him.
My Inventions, Nikola Tesla
Like his work, Elon musts reading list is super scientific - with books on how public policy should deal with the scientific world as well.

Merchants of Doubt is on his reading list, and we can see why. Musk believes science should be integral in the setting of government policy. And this book explains how a handful of corporate-funded scientists have skewed the minds of the public about real scientific research. It's important to remember that yes, not every scientist is out there doing work for the greater good, and how money and lobbyists can change the narrative of a country very easily.
Richard Branson listed this as one of his favourite books and for someone who got through life with hard work, this might be a bit surprising.

The Dice Man is about a psychiatrist making life decisions based upon random dice throws, eventually inspiring a cult following. But the moral of the story is not about luck - it's more about an insight into the rapidly changing and unpredictable nature of the world and man. It was banned in several countries before, but pick it up - it really might change your life.
Of course, from one CEO to another, there's a lot of admiration going on. And billionaire Richard Branson seems to appreciate the business model and workings of In-N-Out Burger.

The book is a tasty look at the Southern California burger joint that’s stayed true to its origins for decades, creating a cult following. And unlike your big fast food franchises, what's inspiring is the continued success of this family business.
"It's a Chinese science fiction book that has gotten so popular there's now a Hollywood movie being made based on it," says Mark Zuckerberg.

First published in Chinese in 2008, and then later translated by Ken Liu in 2015, the novel won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel, one of the most prestigious literary awards for sci-fi book of the year. It's set during the Cultural Revolution in China, events which then later spirals into an alien conspiracy and takeover. It's indicative of China's take on modernisation and progress and Liu Cixin's large, bombastic scope makes it such a compelling read.

He also adds, "This will also be a fun break from all the economics and social science books I've read recently."
“The science is completely clear: Vaccinations work and are important for the health of everyone in our community,” Zuckerberg writes, adding that this book was highly recommended to him by scientists and public-health workers.

“This book explores the reasons why some people question vaccines, and then logically explains why the doubts are unfounded and vaccines are in fact effective and safe,” he says.

And psst, he's not the only billionaire touting this. Bill Gates also recommended it, calling this exploration of myths and rumors around vaccination "beautifully written" and "a great gift for any new parent." He also says that "Biss examines what lies behind people's fears of vaccinating their children. Like many of us, she concludes that vaccines are safe, effective, and almost miraculous.... But she is not out to demonize anyone who holds opposing views."
This is a collection of written lectures that explore the religious consciousness and the mechanics of how people use religion as a source of meaning, compelling them to move onward through life with energy and purpose.

He mentioned, "when I read Sapiens, I found the chapter on the evolution of the role of religion in human life most interesting and something I wanted to go deeper on." Interestingly enough, he picked this up when on a holiday with his wife Priscilla because it seemed like "some light vacation reading". Sounds like he has a pretty good sense of humour too.
This book is one of Ridley's most popular and controversial books. He posits that the idea and creation of markets is what allows humankind to progress and that when kept as free as possible, that progress is accelerated.

Mark Zuckerberg recommended this book, saying "this [next] book argues [...] that economic progress is the greater force [in] pushing society forward. I’m interested to see which idea resonates more after exploring both frameworks."

Of course, he's comparing them between Why Nationals Fail and The Better Angels of Our Nature. "Two of the books I’ve read this year — “The Better Angels of Our Nature” and “Why Nations Fail” — have explored how social and economic progress work together to make the world better. “The Better Angels” argues that the two feed off each other, whereas “Why Nations Fail” argues that social and political progress ultimately controls the economic progress a society makes."

This makes three book recommendations in one.
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